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Radiat Res. 2017 Jul;188(1):56-65. doi: 10.1667/RR14692.1. Epub 2017 May 5.

Investigating the Abscopal Effects of Radioablation on Shielded Bone Marrow in Rodent Models Using Multimodality Imaging.

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a   Department of Surgery, Houston Methodist Hospital Research Institute, Houston, Texas.
b   Hematology-Oncology Section, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.
d   Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas.
c   Department of Pathology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.


The abscopal effect is the response to radiation at sites that are distant from the irradiated site of an organism, and it is thought to play a role in bone marrow (BM) recovery by initiating responses in the unirradiated bone marrow. Understanding the mechanism of this effect has applications in treating BM failure (BMF) and BM transplantation (BMT), and improving survival of nuclear disaster victims. Here, we investigated the use of multimodality imaging as a translational tool to longitudinally assess bone marrow recovery. We used positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and optical imaging to quantify bone marrow activity, vascular response and marrow repopulation in fully and partially irradiated rodent models. We further measured the effects of radiation on serum cytokine levels, hematopoietic cell counts and histology. PET/CT imaging revealed a radiation-induced increase in proliferation in the shielded bone marrow (SBM) compared to exposed bone marrow (EBM) and sham controls. T2-weighted MRI showed radiation-induced hemorrhaging in the EBM and unirradiated SBM. In the EBM and SBM groups, we found alterations in serum cytokine and hormone levels and in hematopoietic cell population proportions, and histological evidence of osteoblast activation at the bone marrow interface. Importantly, we generated a BMT mouse model using fluorescent-labeled bone marrow donor cells and performed fluorescent imaging to reveal the migration of bone marrow cells from shielded to radioablated sites. Our study validates the use of multimodality imaging to monitor bone marrow recovery and provides evidence for the abscopal response in promoting bone marrow recovery after irradiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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